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Thu 16 Oct 2008 01:49 PM

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Talks called as Italy mulls SWF curbs

Italian Foreign Minister to meet with Abu Dhabi wealth fund officials after PM Berlusconi's comments.

Italian Foreign Minister Franco Frattini will meet with officials of Abu Dhabi's sovereign wealth fund this weekend as Italy considers introducing measures to protect against foreign bids.

The meeting follows comments made by Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi on Wednesday where he said foreign investors may take advantage of record-low stock prices to make hostile bids for national companies, newswire Bloomberg reported.

The meetings will take place during a previously scheduled trip beginning October 18 to Abu Dhabi, Bloomberg said, citing an unidentified Italian government official.

Italy’s Finance Ministry and market regulator Consob are drafting new rules to give companies more ways to defend against a hostile bid, Berlusconi said.

Italy's benchmark S&P/MIB Index fell 47 percent in the year to October 10, when it hit an all-time low, amid concern that the credit squeeze will hamper economic growth.

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